The horror film ” False Positive ” looked like a “dark horse” until the very premiere. The A24 film company taught us a long time ago that genre films can be slow and rather strange, but cool. And the streaming service Hulu, the adult version of Disney+, has been equally successful in producing great and downright nondescript exclusives. In addition, the trailer for horror director John Lee opaquely hinted that we were waiting for a modern and topical version of Roman Polanski’s Rosemary ‘s Baby – an imperishable classic that closed the topic of women’s fears for a long time.
And here is the time to make a lyrical digression. The fact is that the main driving force behind the horror “False Positive” is Ilana Glazer. The popular comedian and actress played not only the main role here, but also acted as the lead screenwriter and producer. So do not be surprised that the brisk and full of energy Ilana simply pushed absolutely everyone into the background. Justin Theroux, who played the role of the husband of the main character Lucy, is only needed in the local story as furniture: his Adrian constantly tramples in the background and influences the plot only in those moments when you need to present the audience with a “shocking plot twist”. Well, Pierce Brosnan, who played Dr. Hindle, seemed to sincerely enjoy the process and did not even try to get used to the role. He just exudes charm – period.
The plot of the film “False Positive” is quite simple. After many unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant, Lucy and Adrian turn to Dr. Hindle for help – a doctor who works real miracles. Lucy achieves what she wants, but strange things suddenly begin to happen in her life. And gradually the woman realizes that Dr. Hindle is not such a sweetheart. And those around her hide some terrible secret from her …
Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby is a unique example of timeless cinema. It would seem that almost a hundred million years have passed since the premiere of the picture, but it is still relevant and plays perfectly on the deep, even subconscious fears of expectant mothers. And masterfully reveals the topic of postpartum depression. The anxiety of the main character goes off scale closer to the finale, but it is much more interesting that her panic moods have a basis – no one believes Rosemary, but she finds herself at the center of a real conspiracy.
If the creators of the horror “False Positive” would undertake to shoot a standard remake, then it would be quite simple to do – the topics “Rosemary’s Baby” raises are still relevant. For example, forced loneliness and betrayal of loved ones. But the point is that Ilana Glaser, who was the initiator of the entire creative process, went even further. And she began to compose not just an acutely social horror story, tangentially touching on the fears of modern people, but also social satire, ridiculing and denouncing patriarchy.
But that’s not all. Ilana Glazer decided to dress up her hybrid of drama and black comedy in the clothes of psychological horror. Yes, not a simple one, but a slowburner – harnessing for a very long time, but towards the end turning into a bloody carnage.
Unfortunately, the result disappointed. Moreover, this is a rare case when even Western observers are unanimous in their opinion. “False Positive” is a damn boring and lengthy pseudo-horror movie, which in the finale suddenly loses all genre reference points and crashes against the wall of black comedy. If you suddenly expected that the paranoia of the main character Lucy would find a way out, and the main villain would turn out to be a monster in the flesh, then you were mistaken. The fact is that both the motivation of the scoundrel, and even the metaphors of Glaser turned out to be ridiculous. The film seems to occasionally try to scare and even raises important questions. But he does it either too weakly, or even helplessly.
Having never written a worthy finale, dotting all the “e”, Ilana Glazer gets rid of the audience with a short cut of scenes of violence, as well as a couple of truly psychedelic (and partly lyrical) episodes. Here, of course, it would be time to start analyzing the video sequence and looking for subtexts, but for some reason I want to twist my finger at my temple. A typical slowburner A24, which showed promise in the first half hour, slides into frank and sincere trash.
And there would be nothing wrong with that. Haven’t we seen enough thrash in our lifetime? In the end, there is thrash talented, lively and bold. Breathtaking. Challenging outdated moral standards. Breaking stereotypes. But no, Ilana Glazer winks for an hour and a half and diligently hints that a stunning ending awaits us. Which actually turns into zilch. More precisely, a swing on topics that the authors simply cannot afford to clearly reveal.
One could try to justify all the shortcomings of the film “False Positive” by its clear focus on a specific audience. But talented cinema is different in that it works with equal success on all viewers. On someone weaker, on someone stronger, but it works. Unfortunately, John Lee and Ilana Glaser have turned out to be a strange genre hybrid that does nothing but try to appear smarter than it really is. And he spends an hour and a half of timing on these fruitless attempts.
Content and plot
Having exhausted nearly every natural pregnancy option, Lucy reluctantly visits the Hindle facility with Adrian. Hindle promises her that he will give her “the best chance of getting pregnant”. After running some tests, Hindle states that the problem is Lucy’s low hCG levels and suggests appropriate treatment. Lucy finds it hard to believe that the problem is solved so easily. She goes through the process of artificial insemination and soon finds out that she is pregnant. She and Adrian are trying to come up with names for the baby. They decide that if it’s a girl, they’ll name her Wendy after her late mother, and if it’s a boy, they’ll name him after Adrian.
During an ultrasound scan, Lucy discovers that she will have twin boys and a girl. Hindle tells her that there is a significant chance of a miscarriage in the future and suggests a selective reduction where she and Adrian have to choose between twins and a girls’ jersey. He also suggests choosing twins, as they are healthier. Later, Lucy and Adrian argue with each other. He seems to agree with Hindle, while Lucy wants to keep Wendy alive. Ultimately, Adrian appears to agree with Lucy’s decision to save Wendy.
Subsequently, Lucy begins to have disturbing dreams and hallucinations, and often loses her grasp of reality. She thinks Hindle did something to her and Adrian knows it. As her behavior becomes more and more erratic and unpredictable, the number of people she can trust is rapidly shrinking. Meanwhile, her work life suffers as well. She seems to be the only woman working in an advertising agency in New York. Initial promises of additional responsibilities and pay increases fade when she shows signs of pregnancy.
Deciding that she needs to drastically change her life, she quits her job and replaces Hindle with a midwife, Grace Singleton. But an ongoing sense of dread continues to linger in her as her mental health deteriorates. When she finally gives birth, the twins are found to be healthy.
False Positive Ending: Is Wendy Dead or Alive?
Yes, Wendy is most likely dead. The film opens with post-climax scenes depicting a bloody Lucy walking with a package in her hand. Back at the apartment she shares with Adrian, she has another hallucination in which she sees herself throwing the twins out the window. There are many references to Peter Pan in the film. In her hallucination, Lucy sees the twins fly away like Pan after she lets them go. When Adrian returns, she rightly accuses him of colluding with Hindle to ensure the twins survive. In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, she takes the twins from the cradle and hands them over to Adrian before demanding he leave, effectively breaking her maternal ties to the boys.
In the final scene, Lucy takes Wendy’s underdeveloped fetus and attempts to breastfeed it. The film ends with a sudden movement of the fetus. This is probably another of the hallucinations that have haunted her ever since she became pregnant. She desperately wanted to be a mother to a little girl and form that unique mother-daughter bond she experienced with her own mother. But that opportunity was torn from her when the men who made the decisions in her life decided not to save Wendy because they thought she was weak.
Why is Lucy accusing Hindle of rape?
After the birth of the twins, Lucy revisits the Hindle Clinic and learns from Nurse Dawn that Adrian is going to work with Hindle, which Adrian did not tell her about. Don realizes this and remarks that she thought Lucy and Adrian were closer. Later, when confronted by Hindle, Lucy discovers that he has secretly impregnated her with his sperm. This leads her to accuse him of rape. He violated her trust and implanted his seeds in her womb without her consent.
Hindle also incites the inevitable violence. Having received what he wants from her, he decides not to let her go. But luckily for Lucy, her instincts kick in and she is able to protect herself from both Hindle and Dawn. The latter is injected with the same red liquid that Hindle was going to use on Lucy and presumably dies. As for Hindle, even though Lucy lets him live, he is almost finished as a doctor. Lucy destroyed all of the sperm samples, ensuring that there would be no more victims in the future.